A visit home helps Earl spark special memories

Earl, age 87, left home and found his way to the Rocky Mountain state nearly 15 years ago—though his memory might tell him otherwise. When Earl’s dementia advanced, his daughter Kristen left her job as a teacher to became his full-time caregiver.

Earl’s memories of his hometown of Clintonville, WI are among his strongest. Maybe that’s because Clintonville is such a special place—a classic small, Midwestern town where everyone knows everyone’s name.

Earl’s wish was to return home and share the place most dear to his heart with Kristen. And it was Wish of a Lifetime’s honor to help the pair to do so.

Wish recipient Earl looks around his hometown
Wish recipient Earl holds picture of his childhood home while sitting on steps

The trip sparked memories all the way to Earl’s childhood, from climbing the town water tower to visiting the Four-Wheel Drive Museum. They ate cheese curds, explored Earl’s old stomping grounds, and even sat on the steps of his childhood home.

With each passing moment, more of Earl’s memories returned—it was like he had never left.

“All of my dad’s memories were in full flow,” Kristen said. “He was home.” 

Wish recipient Earl and his daughter caregiver Kristen sit on steps of his childhood home
Wish recipient Earl stands inside the Four Wheel Drive Museum
Wish recipient Early smiles widely at the Four Wheel Drive Museum

We’re one step closer with each wish granted

A true wish of a lifetime achieved makes other goals seem possible and encourages our wish recipients to keep dreaming and pursuing their passions. As one of AARP’s charitable affiliates, Wish of a Lifetime helps people fulfill their dreams while also combating the negative side effects of isolation. Granting a wish is a simple gesture but the results can be profound. Join us.

Wish recipient Earl at the Four Wheel Drive Museum

All wish activities are conducted in accordance with CDC, state and local health regulations and may be subject to increased COVID-19 prevention precautions as outlined in WOL’s COVID-19 Policy.